Sunday, August 16, 2015
Take Care of Yourself...
Do you keep a journal? From time to time I'll share my reflections to questions that are found in "The Color of Seizures".
1. What are the things that stand between you and complete happiness?
Codependence covers a broad spectrum of what might come between me and complete happiness.
Codependence may well take me away from good health and leave me with the pain of seizures.
Nearly five years ago, I was well into therapy. I also attended a weekly Samaritans meeting with a friend who had lost her son to suicide. At one of the meetings, the host asked me to share about me. I began to share quietly and like the others, poured my heart out. I had lost my true self to an emotional suicide.
After the meeting, a woman approached me and whispered, "Do you think you might be codependent?" I wasn't sure what that meant, but I would find out. I googled for information and my eyes were opened. When I said the word to my therapist, his eyes opened wide. He pursed his lips and nodded yes.
Codependence is a disease manifested by harmful characteristics in relationships. It is difficult to diagnose with symptoms, but there are lots of signs. The patterns that I see in myself so far in my codependence are as follows:
I have difficulty identifying my feelings. I often minimize my feelings or suit my feelings to what I think others need to hear. I don't have delusions of helping all the world, but I can honestly say that I am mothering, fixing and look for ways to help save others.
I tend to judge myself as never being good enough. I try to do the best I can with my looks, my clothes, my home, etc.. But I am reluctant to let people see the real me. I am embarrassed much of the time about myself and my living situation. I am embarrassed to receive praise. I want to fix people, and feel like I don't trust them to do their job their way, which would probably be fine, if I let them. I look in the mirror and feel physically unattractive and don't feel physically or emotionally lovable. That caused a lot of "Why bother?" thinking.
I am sensitive to others' feelings and often take on their feelings as my own. I must be extremely loyal. I often hold back, unable to express my own feelings, what I need to say.
Sometimes I think others cannot take care of themselves. I need to be the mother or the fixer. I have become resentful when others have said "no" to my offers to help. I admittedly have offered advice without being asked.
When I care for someone else, I need to ask myself if my motivation to care for that person is fear based, and do I feel the need to fix them, control or manipulate them. Do I care for this person to avoid feeling abandoned? Do I neglect caring for myself or cross over boundaries in order to be with or care for this person? If any of my answers are yes, then I am knee deep in being codependent. My behaviors can be harmful if I am a people pleaser and please others before taking care of myself. The question I need to ask first.. Have a taken care of ME?
Hearing the words psychogenic non-epileptic seizures, PNES opened my body, mind, and spirit to a feeling of relief because I finally understood what was happening and continues to happen to me.
Does being codependent affect my having PNES? I am certain for sure!
There are definitely other factors at work, those that caused me to become codependent.
Believe me, it is hard work to maintain being codependent!
How do I work to lessen my codependence? I practice my faith and admit that am powerless over my codependence. I create boundaries that protect me and others. I am not perfect and I forget those boundaries sometimes more often than not.
There are many other factors that contribute to my seizures. Some, I don't even know about as they may be locked in the deep recesses of my brain.
How do I work with my PNES? I am powerless over my seizures. I am a work in progress. I take life one day at a time. I take my seizures one seizure at a time.
How will you answer the question: What are the things that stand between you and complete happiness?